Nell Scovell, a successful television writer with over twenty years of experience in the industry, has opened up about her time as a staff writer for David Letterman in a piece for Vanity Fair (where she’s also written for two decades). And while the entire essay is a well-balanced critique of the lack of female writers in late-night television, here’s the quote that makes Letterman look like a dick:
Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.
Scovell uses her experience with Letterman to call for more female writers across the spectrum of late-night television, and I think she has a good point — up to a point. I don’t want to play the “women aren’t funny” card, because I know some women who are very funny. But at the same time… c’mon. Calling for more women comedy writers is like calling for more white wide receivers in the NFL.